555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

124. What Do We Know of Paul's Personal Appearance?

All we know of it, from his own writings, is found in II Cor. 10:10, which indicates that he did not possess the advantage of a distinguished or imposing presence. His stature was somewhat diminutive, his eyesight weak (see Acts 23:5 and Gal. 4:15) nor did he regard his address as impressive. Much of this personal criticism, however, may have been the outcome of the apostle's desire to avoid magnifying himself or his own talents. A fourth century tablet represents him as venerable-looking and dignified, with a high, bald forehead, full-bearded, and with features indicating force of character. One ancient writer says Paul's nose was strongly aquiline. All the early pictures and mosaics, as well as some of the early writers (among them Malalus and Nicephorus) agree in describing the apostle as of short stature, with long face, prominent eyebrows, clear complexion and a winning expression, the whole aspect being that of power and dignity. The oldest known portrait is the Roman panel of the fourth century, already referred to above.